The Midway is on ongoing series which I began in 1998. The images are of the North Carolina State Fair, and they were made in a variety of ways: infrared film and hand tinting; some made with a 4x5 pinhole camera and b&w film, printed in platinum/palladium; and some using color film, printed as traditional C-prints.
Fairs and amusement parks present a dreamy kind of nightmare world to me, and the pinhole camera-- with its long exposures and often exaggerated perspectives-- exploits that vision.
When I first began this series, I wanted to find a way to show the Fair as I remembered it as a child-- at once scary, exciting, foreign, full of color and strangeness and wonder-- and commit those memories to film as a magical sort of dreamland.
I began the series using infrared b&w film and hand-tinting, which offered a faded, almost nostalgic, view. I later discovered the pinhole camera, which was exactly what I needed-- emphasizing a slightly skewed and fluid world.
Initially, the pinhole images were contact-printed from the original 4x5 negatives, in platinum/palladium-- suggesting post-card views from long ago. I later made them much larger.
I love that those necessary and unavoidable long exposures with pinhole cause moving crowds to disappear. And I like the unknown and the happy accidents that often occur with pinhole cameras. I feel that I am at my best, photographically, when that element of the unknown is a constant.
Obviously, these images emanate more from my mind's eye, rather than from any literal perspective; for me, they are the closest to depicting both the feeling and the unreliable and fugitive childhood memories of experiencing The Midway for the very first time.
Please click on each image for a larger view and details.